28-Year-Old Oklahoma Man Gives Himself a Stroke by Popping Neck

May 2, 2019 Updated: May 2, 2019

A young Oklahoma father suffered a major stroke after tearing an artery when he popped his neck, reported KOCO 5 news.

Josh Hader of Gutherie was left with double vision and had to wear an eye patch for several days after tearing his vertebral artery—a crucial vessel that supplies the brain with blood.

According to doctors he could have died, reported KOCO.

Hader, 28, was rushed to the emergency room by his father-in-law after he popped his neck, and realized something was wrong.

“The moment I heard the pop, everything on my left side started to go numb,” Hader said. “I got up and tried to get an ice pack from the fridge, and I remember I couldn’t walk straight.”

Dr. Vance McCollom at Mercy Hospital, where Hader was treated, told KOCO that he could have died.

Mercy Hospital in Guthrie, Oklahoma. (Screenshot/Google Maps)

“If you have a stroke in that area, you can end up with a patient who’s locked in,” McCollom said. “They completely understand what’s going on, but they can’t communicate. They can’t move anything. They can’t speak. They can’t breathe.”

McCollom said that some ways of popping your neck are safer.

"He could have died." A 28-year-old Guthrie man who is a young father suffered a major stroke. Josh Hader tore an artery…

Posted by KOCO 5 News on Wednesday, May 1, 2019

“If you want to pop your neck, just kind of pop it side to side. Don’t twist it,” McCollom said. “Whenever you twist it, there’s a risk of tearing that vessel.

According to McCollum, Hader said that his wife had been telling him: “Don’t pop your neck. You’re going to cause a stroke.”

"HE COULD HAVE DIED": A man is recovering after suffering a stroke caused by cracking his neck. wfla.com/1972740224

Posted by WFLA News Channel 8 on Thursday, May 2, 2019

A stroke is caused by a blood clot blocking vessels to the brain, causing the function of that part to be impaired as they are starved of oxygen. The longer the vessel is blocked, the worse the long-term damage to the brain tissue. So quick response is vital.

The medical community has therefore long sought to educate the public on how to spot symptoms of a stroke.

London Paramedic Partially Paralyzed by Neck Pop

But even medical experts can get it wrong, and diagnosing a stroke yourself is hard, precisely because it can cause disorientation and confusion.

A paramedic working for the London Ambulance service gave herself a stroke when she popped her neck lying in bed watching movies after she had been out drinking.

“I wasn’t even trying to crack my neck. I just moved and it happened. I stretched my neck and I could just hear this “crack, crack, crack.” she said, according to the Daily Mail. “My friend asked ‘was that your neck?’ but all my joints crack quite a bit so I didn’t think anything of it. I just laughed.”

The stroke in March left Natalie Kunicki, 23, partially paralyzed. She is expected to recover over the next year or so.

When Kunicki began to feel strange after popping her neck, she initially dismissed the symptoms as as result of being drunk.

“I got up and tried to walk to the bathroom and I was swaying everywhere. I looked down and realized I wasn’t moving my left leg at all. Then I fell to the floor,” she said.

She was still too embarrassed to phone emergency services, worried that colleagues would come and find her drunk.

Then she began to wonder if someone had spiked her drink with a date rape drug.

Finally, she called for an ambulance.

She has a long road of recovery ahead.

“I expected to wake up from this miracle surgery and everything would be fixed but my mobility was worse and they couldn’t clear the clot,” Kunicki said. “At the start, I couldn’t move my thumb and forefinger. I could kind of move my wrist up and down. I couldn’t lift my arm. I could bend my left leg, but I couldn’t wiggle my toes.”

She hopes to be in good enough shape for light duty at work in 6 to 12 months time.

“I’ve recovered movement in my left side. I can walk but not for more than five minutes,” she said. “I’m really clumsy. I can’t do up buttons, I find it too difficult. I can feel hot and cold now but I still feel a bit numb.”

According to the CDC, the majority of stroke victims in the United States are 65 years of age and older. But 10 percent of stroke victims are under 45 years old, according to Stanford Health Care. In older people, atherosclerosis, or the build up of fats, is most often the cause of a stroke, although atherosclerosis can also occur in young people due to diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or cigarette smoking.

Other causes in young people include heart or blood conditions, drugs, infections, and inflammatory conditions. Genetics can also contribute, but in 25 to 35 percent of cases, medical professionals cannot pinpoint the cause of a stroke in young people, according to Stanford Health Care.

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